Still trailing his Democratic challenger by about 5,000 votes, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Thursday announced 50 new elections complaints alleging that votes were cast by people who were either dead, convicted felons, or had already voted.
The ballot-counting in the hard-fought race is now in its second week, with ballot challenges and provisional ballot tabulating as McCrory tries to make up the gap on Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper.
“Now we know why Roy Cooper fought so hard against voter ID and other efforts to combat voter fraud as attorney general,” Russell Peck, McCrory’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “With each passing day, we discover more and more cases of voting fraud and irregularities. We intend to make sure that every vote is properly counted and serious voter fraud concerns are addressed before the results of the election can be determined.”
The campaign said that the complaints were filed by registered voters, asking for county elections boards “to void anywhere between 100 to 200 ballots cast by suspected felons, dead people and double voters.”
With McCrory trailing Cooper by about 5,000 votes, it does not appear that the complaints announced by the McCrory campaign Thursday could swing the election in his favor.
Cooper’s campaign charged on Thursday that McCrory was trying to undermine the election results.
“Governor McCrory lost in last week’s election. But while Roy Cooper’s margin of victory has continued to grow, the McCrory Administration is delaying certification of these results with a failure to comply with the State Board of Elections’ deadline. This is unacceptable. Both the McCrory campaign and Administration are seeking to undermine the results of an election they lost. It’s time to certify these results and confirm Roy Cooper’s victory,” Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter said in a statement.
Republicans had previously filed additional complaints about ballots. The state GOP filed a complaint calling for the recount of 94,000 early voting ballots in Durham County, where data were entered manually late on Election Day due to machine issues.
The McCrory campaign also said on Thursday that up to 12 complaints would be filed about absentee ballots, though not all were filed by Thursday afternoon, according to the Charlotte Observer. The campaign alleged in a Thursday email that groups that received funding from the state Democratic Party “paid individuals to fill out and witness hundreds of fraudulent absentee ballots for Democrats.”
County election boards are also still sorting through 60,000 provisional ballots, determining whether they should be counted. The deadline to complete that process is Friday, but officials have indicated that they might not be finished by then, according to Raleigh television station WRAL. When residents are not on the voter rolls but claim they have registered or changed their address at the Department of Motor Vehicles, they are able to fill out a provisional ballot and officials must then determine whether they attempted to register. As of Thursday, some election officials were still waiting on information from the DMV, according to WRAL. A spokesman for the state board of elections told WRAL that usually about one third to a half of provisional ballots are deemed valid.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that election workers counted more than 90,000 ballots by hand late on election tonight. The election workers had to manually enter data from ballot tabulators’ paper tapes because they were unable to read data from memory cards. We regret the error.